(Brandice J. O’Brien photo)

(Brandice J. O’Brien photo)

‘It’s never too early’: B.C. women urged to speak to their doctors about breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

With one in every eight women expected to get breast cancer in her lifetime, a Vancouver doctor says it’s never too early to talk to your doctor.

“Women need to be aware of what’s going on with their breasts,” Dr. Beth Donaldson, medical director and family doctor with Copeman Healthcare Centre, said.

Women without a family history of cancer should speak to a doctor about testing when they turn 40, Donaldson said.

Waiting too long, she noted, can turn a curable disease into a deadly diagnosis.

“I had one woman who had been ignoring having mammograms,” Donaldson said.

“She came to me at 49 with a lump in her neck.”

If the patient came to her in her early 40s, “she’d still be alive today.”

“When you catch it early there’s so many more options for treatment. and treatment in B.C. is excellent,” Donaldson noted.

“It’s never too early to start asking.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and BC Cancer statistics show one in 34 women die of breast cancer, compared to the one in eight diagnosed. Five year survival rates for breast cancer are higher than 80 per cent.

Women with histories of breast cancer should start talking to a doctor as early as in the 20s, Donaldson said.

When women go in, they should be prepared to provide “family history for cancers, her own [medical] history,” and be ready for a breast exam and then if needed a referral for a screening and diagnostics.”

For women who don’t have family doctors, Donaldson said they can always go to a walk-in and request testing, or call a BC Cancer clinic in their area.

READ MORE: More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

READ MORE: B.C. oncologist changing the face of breast cancer treatment


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The barge sank again on Jan. 8 and is still resting under water. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Refloating of sunken barge to resume in early February

This will be the second attempt at recovery after poor weather conditions caused it to re-sink.

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy council
Port Hardy council proclaims the last week of March ‘Bear Smart Week’

Council agreed to allocate $3,000 for funding towards ‘Bear Smart Week’ signage.

Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas. (Dennis Dugas photo)
Port Hardy mayor talks two years in office, ready to move forward in 2021

Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas tackles a number of different topics in an interview with the Gazette.

Dex needs surgery after breaking his paw in the panic caused by an apartment fire. (Submitted)
Dog needs surgery after apartment fire injury

A fundraiser has been started to contribute towards veterinarian costs

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read